Hello, all my old readers! No, I am not starting a new story and, unfortunately, nor am I continuing my previous stories. Instead, I have here a few chapters of a revision to Love and Loss I wrote back in December 2006, if I remember rightly. At that time, I had intended on revising and updating Love and Loss. An entire revision, of course, never came to be, but I did re-write the first two chapters and a bit of the third. I have always intended to post those few revised chapters, but never got around to it. Perhaps now is the best time. I realize it has been years and years since I have written, however, and I apologize for not completing any of my stories (aside from Faith Never Fades, I suppose).
However, if you want a little blast from the past, if you want to laugh at all the Fanfictions you read in youth, feel free to peruse this. Please enjoy!
Chapter 1: Beginnings (Revised)
Laura grumbled lowly to herself.
"Stupid manager…can't give me a friggin' break for the holidays." Emitting an exasperated sigh, she saw it was time to finally get out of her blue Volkswagen Beetle, grab her groceries, then get into the house. One last growl came from her lips as she wrenched the keys out of the ignition and got out of the driver's seat, slamming the door shut in her frustration before going to the trunk and grabbing two bags of groceries in order for her to survive the remaining weeks of Spring Break.
Walking up to the door of the small log cabin her folks owned, she heaved both loaded bags into one arm as she fiddled with the door key, eventually jamming it into the lock and hearing the faint click of the bolt being drawn back. Removing her keys, she hastily pushed a button on her car remote, drawing a few automatic beeps from her car as it locked. Shoving open the wooden door, she smiled as a small Doberman dog ran her way, its stub of a tail shaking madly. Intent on greeting the small animal, she closed the door behind her.
Laura Bradford was a girl of twenty-two and a senior at the University of Illinois. Studies were hard and the young woman had been on the brink of insanity with the end of term papers she had "forgotten" to write until the weekend previous to Spring Break. Luckily, she had been able to whip up a few B-average papers in that short 48-hour period and the break had finally arrived, though the chaos and madness had not ceased. It never helped when your boss, a man of mid-thirties with a temper to match, put you on the clock every free moment you had, thus explaining Laura's frustration. Thankfully, although, she managed to get an evening free, but with the drawback of having had to work an earlier shift.
The girl worked at a small restaurant near the school campus, fitting perfectly into her schedule of classes. Typically she would go about her day-to-day life in an apartment shared with a few other girls, one girl being her best friend Riley McDowell. Laura would go to her classes, take a few hours of break, then walk to work nearly every day. Though with Spring Break, most of the roommates had left to go spend the holidays with their families, causing the rent to be far too much for the remaining girls, therefore Laura stayed in a small log cabin about half an hour from the campus. Her folks had bought the cabin on the occasions that they would come to visit their daughter, but it was empty for the time being and Laura thought why not take the advantage during her time off from studies. She did not plan on returning home due to high airfares, and found it more fun to remain near school where she could spend time with friends there, going to parties and such, that is if time permitted it, but her overcrowded work schedule cut out any time for such moments of fun.
Setting down the bags of groceries on the floor, she knelt down as Austin, her small Doberman, ran up and greeted her with many happy kisses, knocking her backwards as he jumped on her. Laura merely grinned, chuckles escaping her lips as the dog never ceased licking her.
"Hey, boy," she said between bursts of laughter. "Yes, yes, I missed you." Finally grabbing hold of him, she kissed him lightly on the nose and returned to her feet, hastily snatching the groceries up before he had a chance to explore them. "Come on," she called, her feet leading her mechanically to the small kitchen. She set the groceries on the counter and started putting away the food, occasionally talking to Austin as she worked.
"What is the problem with Michael?" she asked the dog with a sigh, referring to her manager. "Why can't he just give me a few days off? No, I have to work every bloody minute I have free." She stuffed away a box of cereal as she complained to Austin, who simply cocked his head as if actually listening and understanding. Turning back to the small dog, she smiled. "You don't want to listen to me rant on, do you, boy?" she asked, once more kneeling down and picking him up. She gave him another small kiss on the nose. "At least I can say I'm getting paid," she admitted with a sigh, setting him down and rising to her feet. Reaching into the paper bag once more, she pulled out a box of microwave popcorn. With a shrug, she opened the box and grabbed one of the small packages, throwing it into the microwave and setting the timer. "Why not?" she commented to Austin with a shrug.
A few minutes later she jumped onto a sofa in the living room with a bowl of freshly made popcorn, Austin coming up beside her with pleading eyes. She flipped on the television and DVD player, recalling what movie she had intended on watching last, but was called to work at the last minute. She hit the "Enter" button on the remote, allowing the movie to begin as she munched idly on popcorn, tossing a piece to Austin every now and then.
An hour and a half later, she was still watching Lord of the Rings in comfort, having never tired of seeing her favorite movie and book series. She had read the books as a young girl and immediately fell in love with them. When the movies came out, she was at first apprehensive of seeing them, knowing how often directors thoroughly destroyed books, but at the urging of Riley, she finally saw the first film in theaters and fell in love with the story all over again, despite the differences in the adaptation.
She watched intently as Strider explained to the hobbits of who the Ringwraiths were and where they came from, knowing that soon they would depart for Rivendell. Her concentration was broken, however, as her cell phone went off, drawing a sigh from Laura. She pushed the mute button, allowing the movie to continue playing in silence. She knew the film well enough, what difference did it make if she missed a few minutes to answer a call. Reaching towards a side table, she grabbed her cell and glanced at the number written on the screen. Only taking a fleeting second, Laura flipped it open and pushed a small button on the phone, raising it to her ear.
"Hey, Ri," she said flatly, partially annoyed that her movie had been interrupted.
"Oh, hey Laura!" came the giddy reply of Riley.
"What's up?" questioned Laura, casually watching the television screen as Strider led the hobbits out of Bree.
"Well, I was wondering if you were comin' to the party tonight, you know Mitch's party," said Riley right away, jumping straight to the point. Laura smirked and rolled her eyes at Riley's blatant manners. "Last time I mentioned it, you said you'd come if you could get the night off. Have you?"
"Yeah, I got it off, thank goodness," came Laura's reply, looking heavenwards as if silently thanking God. Riley made no abrupt response and suddenly became very quiet and hesitant on the line, drawing suspicions from Laura. The girl remained patient, however, knowing eventually it would come out, and soon enough Riley was heard once more, though her tone dramatically changing to sound meek and uncertain.
"The only thing is…is, well, Brian's gonna be there. At least that's what Mitch told me." A look of anguish crossed Laura's face at her friend's words, an expression with enough force to make Riley wince had she been with her.
"That two-timing fraud!" said Laura, practically yelling into her cell, causing Austin to jump up from his peaceful slumber beside her on the couch.
Brian and Laura had dated early in their college years, forming a great relationship in only a few months of knowing each other. Unfortunately, after a few years of dating and only a few months previous, she learned he had been cheating on her for six months or so. Immediately she was disgusted and wanted nothing to do with him, breaking off their relationship instantaneously. At various times he would try to get through to her, but the heartbreak and hurt was too fresh on Laura and instead she ignored him to the best she could.
"Hell no, I'm not going to a party with him there!" she growled to Riley. "Don't you remember what he did to me? Come on, get serious!" Riley sighed in annoyance, having expected a similar reaction from her friend, but she was still not deterred and pressed on.
"Laura, it's been six months," she said tentatively, trying to reason with her friend. "He's probably well over it and you should get over it too. It's not like you have to talk to him, and not every guy there is a git like him." Laura smirked and chuckled lightly at Riley's use of British lingo, musing how strange her friend could be sometimes and how unnatural British wording sounded on an American tongue, though she had to admit, it was sometimes fun to talk a little differently. "So will you come?" begged Riley, trying her best to persuade Laura to get out. A party would be good for her, and to meet some other guys was probably best instead of wallowing over what concluded from her previous encounter with love.
"I'll think about it," Laura finally said after a few minutes' silence, running a hand through her golden-brown locks. She heard a squeal of joy from the line and had to pull the phone away due to the volume of the noise. "I'm not making any promises though," she added quickly once her friend had silenced.
"Yeah, yeah," Riley replied obviously ignoring her last comment, causing Laura to roll her eyes again. By then, her attention had completely shifted from the movie to her friend, and her eyes strayed to look out the back door, glancing at the forest that surrounded the cabin. "Oh, how was work?" Riley asked, plowing on to the next topic. "That guy's been workin' you hard. I mean the money's good, but can't he give you a break—"
"Don't want to talk about it," Laura cut her off, a sense of frustration settling on her once again. If it wasn't recent ex-boyfriend troubles, it was work. Today was certainly not Laura's day, and realizing that fact, she ran a hand down the length of her face. Riley certainly did not quit, however, and jumped to another question.
"So, watcha up to then?"
"Movie," came Laura's simple response.
"Let me guess…"
"Lord of the Rings," they both chorused before laughing. They knew each other far too well.
"How can you never get tired of that story?" asked Riley in exasperation. "Sheesh, you must have watched those movies at least twenty times, but then again…" she backtracked slightly, "can't necessarily blame you what with all those hot men and elves. Mmmm…." Laura snorted slightly, another fit of laughs emitting from her. "Which one is it anyway?" said Riley, hearing her friend easily.
"Fellowship," said Laura, not bothering to say the full title. Riley understood well enough. No answer came for a few moments as the girl obviously allowed thoughts to play through her head.
"Pity, that's not all the hot guys in one movie. That Eomer and Faramir always look good in that armor. Eowyn's not a bad chick either for a girl; like her better than Arwen definitely, but Aragorn rules over everyone. You don't forget, that's my ranger. No sissy elves, or ragged men can beat him."
"Yeah, yeah," came Laura's playful reply, blowing off the comment easily as her eyes landed on her television again to see the Council of Elrond beginning. "What do you know, there's some 'sissy elves' and 'ragged men' now," she commented, hastily clarifying what scene she was watching.
After a few more moments talking about the movie and a few other topics, their conversation drew to a close and Riley had a few concluding comments, including a reminder of the party and one last plea for Laura to come.
"I'll call you in a few hours to give you a heads up if I'm coming," Laura said, determined to shush her friend. She didn't need to hear about parties or work; she just needed a break, some time off to relax with little to preferably no stress.
She suddenly turned her head as she heard Austin loudly pawing at the door, whimpers escaping from him as his claws scratched against the glass. Hastily, bringing her concentration back on the conversation for a few seconds' more, she ended it.
"Listen, I got to go. I'll call ya later," she reassured, closing her cell and setting it on the side table again as she stood from the couch. She allowed her eyes to stray to the film once more, watching as Elrond's lips moved soundlessly, but she knew what was said, and instead voiced the lines herself, matching her words as he mouthed.
"'Nine companions,'" she quoted, "'so be it! You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring!'" She smirked as she left the small living room to the wooden door, Austin whining loudly as he begged to be let out. "Alright, boy, alright," she murmured, unlocking the door and opening it. "Go on out." Austin immediately sped out the door as soon as it opened. She smiled slightly to herself, following him out and closing the door softly behind her.